CHAUNCEY, Ohio — A Wilmington native has a new title in Athens County — Mayor of Chauncey.
Amy Renner-Hudson, a 2005 Wilmington High School graduate, defeated 10-year incumbent village mayor Robert Mattey by a vote of 73-55 on Tuesday.
Renner-Hudson told the News Journal she’s still pretty shocked that she won the race in the village that, as of the 2010 census, has just over 1,000 residents.
“I’m still wrapping my head around that,” said Renner-Hudson, who moved to Chauncey in 2014 for work in Athens as a project administrator.
She told the News Journal a reason why her family was drawn to the village was because of the reasonable housing prices compared to its larger neighbor of Athens. But it was around two-and-a-half years ago when she was appointed as a council member that she really started becoming involved in the community.
“Once I became more knowledgeable about the challenges and opportunities in Chauncey, I felt motivated to contribute in a bigger way,” she said. “I’ve been really active and it seemed like a natural transition for the work I’ve been doing to run for mayor.”
This was her first time running for public office and she said it was a new and eye-opening experience.
“I had low expectations going into the race because it is a small village, so I assumed that a relatively new person like me wouldn’t be welcomed to a role like mayor,” she said.
But she was proven wrong when many residents were “very receptive” to her ideas and experience to lend to the village.
“That was a pleasant surprise,” she said. “I was still met with scrutiny, which you’ll always get in politics, but, nevertheless, it’s hard to hear, especially when it’s based on lies.”
She has earned a reputation locally as a doer.
“I acquired funding to restore the veterans memorial and amped up our annual clean-up day,” she said. “I’ve been a big player in representing the village in the Baileys Mountain Bike Trail System project that will change our community immensely. I have written grants that I’m awaiting the results of still, but all of this shows that even without the title of mayor, I have already been committed to making my community a better place,” she said.
She’s excited to get started with her mayoral duties and looks forward to working with the council members and the village solicitor.
She told the News Journal she wants to protect their affordable housing “during this time of transition with the trails.” She plans on continuing the removal of blighted properties through their county land bank, find new revenue streams to address concerns on their infrastructure, and explore ways to make residents feel safe again since crime and no law enforcement is a concern.
“I’m realistic that these things will take time but it’s at least forward progress,” she said.
While she believes that the transition to her mayoral duties will be a learning curve, she said she’ll stay positive and give it her all.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574